Sometimes I think we make leadership more difficult than it has to be. The truth is if you follow some simple rules leadership is easy 90% of the time. The other 10% is where leaders earn their paycheck.
But some find themselves facing leadership problems with their team 90% of the time! That’s when a leader has to stop and look in the mirror. Is the problem the people or is the problem the way you’re leading?
Leading would be a lot easier for us and those we lead if we’d follow a few simple rules.
- Demonstrate a high confidence in your people. I’ve discovered the higher the confidence I have in people the higher the confidence they have in themselves. When people have a high confidence in themselves they’re more likely to take greater risks and innovate in ways that add great value to the organization.
- Praise progress not perfection. Imagine the difference it would make if leaders would stop looking for what people are doing wrong and started looking for what people were doing right and praising their progress. Team members would begin to discover and maximize their strengths. And that’s always a win for an organization.
- Establish shared expectations regarding performance outcomes. If you don’t establish shared expectations you’ll experience shared frustrations. One of the wisest things you can do is talk to your people about what their performance will look like in the future not just what it looked like in the past.
- Give people the tools and resources they need to do their job well. This will not only help them be successful but also feel successful. Often times it’s not lack of commitment or competency that creates poor performance, it’s lack of the right tools.
- Smile, laugh and enjoy what you do. When you enjoy what you do that joy spreads to the team. A simple smile is an expression that communicates you love being there and you love what you do. It’s amazing how much smiling and humor can create a work culture people love.
- Lead from trust rather than leading from suspicion. If you lead from a position of suspicion then you create a tentative team. They will be guarded and operate out of fear. If you fail to establish a culture of trust you’ve failed to establish a spirit of team.
- Make it meaningful. Let’s face it sometimes the work our team does feels very menial. You and I know it all works together to make the mission move forward. But it can be easy for them to forget. So make the work they do meaningful by always pointing them to the big picture vision, celebrating the wins and showing them that their contribution made a difference.
What are some other simple rules of leading well you’d add to this list?